Former WWE superstar Gabbi Tuft (aka Tyler Reks) made headlines recently when she announced that she had come out as trans.
Tuft joined Wrestling Inc. Managing Editor Nick Hausman on the Wrestling Inc. Daily last week to discuss her time in WWE. Speaking on her interactions with the boss, Tuft described her few moments with Vince McMahon.
“Short and sweet,” Tuft said. “It was one of those, ‘Hey boss, how ya doing?’ Shake your hand, and move on the way. I had short meetings with him. He does short meetings with every new talent, at least when I was there, and it was awkward because I didn’t really know who I was. I was like, ‘Okay, yes, yes, sir, okay yeah.’ He asked me all the hard questions, I was giving him very simple answers.”
During her time in WWE as Tyler Reks, Tuft worked with ECW, SmackDown, and the reality game show version of NXT. Aside from a spot at WWE Bragging Rights 2010, Tuft acknowledged the lack of planning used with her character.
“I will say I am 90% sure that there was no vision for me ever,” Tuft said. “Because, and I have some inside information because I know some of the writers, they were buddies of ours. Apparently in the production meeting before my big debut as the mean Tyler Reks with the beard and the dreadlocks, they had pulled me off TV as a babyface because it just wasn’t working. [I spent] six months plus trying to come up with this heel character, it was right before Bragging Rights. It was literally Friday night when I worked Kaval (Low-Ki). It was his spot for Bragging Rights. That production meeting Vince goes, ‘What are you guys doing with Tyler Reks?’ And I was told the entire production meeting room was just kind of, they just looked at each other and they go, ‘Nothing?’ ‘What are your plans for him?’ ‘We don’t have any.’ He goes, ‘He’s debuting tonight, he’s going to Bragging Rights.’ And that was it, that was all I knew.”
Tuft’s last big run in WWE came off the aforementioned NXT, but before it was the fan-favorite indie wrestling Mecca it is today.
“Hawkins and I always had a saying that NXT was where wrestlers go to die,” Tuft said. “It’s much different now, but back then it wasn’t even the C show, it was the D show. It was the, ‘Hey, put them down here before we let them go.’ We looked at it as a ‘we don’t really care anymore, we’re going to get fired or we’re going to figure this out.’ We had an opportunity to just experiment with everything. We broke all the rules, we stopped listening to our producers. They would say, ‘Don’t do this, don’t do that, here’s a mic, go five minutes.’ We’d go ten minutes. ‘Hey, don’t use that cane.’ We’d use the cane anyway. We just didn’t care, and we really started figuring out who we were individually and as a tag team, and it got to be really, really fun. We really started understanding how to shine, and how to get our characters across.”
While they don’t talk everyday, Tuft revealed she is still friends with her former tag partner, and that Hawkins actually reached out to her when her big news came out.
“We are still friends and we talk occasionally,” Tuft said. “I actually haven’t talked to him in a couple of months, but today, I guess the news broke today? I didn’t even know the news broke today. I knew the press release was going out but I see Hawkins texting me and I’m like, ‘Oh, what’s he got to say?’ It was just three or four little hearts and a little, ‘I love you buddy.’”
While her WWE run left a lot to be desired, Tuft did have a couple of moments that she is extremely grateful for. Number 1 on that bucket list was her role at RAW 1000, where she and five other superstars got to share the ring with the Brothers of Destruction.
“It was amazing,” Tuft said. “That had been one of my things when I started, when I knew I was signed and I started in WWE. That was like my bucket list thing: I wanted to be in the ring with Taker. No matter how long, short, whatever, I just wanted to be in there. The privilege of being in the ring with Kane several times, on tours and on house shows, he’s a wonderful guy. I love Glenn, he’s amazing. Taught me a bunch. But when they came to us, and they were like, ‘Hey look, we’re going to do this thing for RAW 1000, and we want you couple of guys, because we trust you, to come out there with us,’ I tried not to pee myself. Outside, I was smiling, but inside I was screaming. I was so excited, and it was short. It was really short. I remember seeing Taker in the ring, and he was just throwing a bunch of punches, and I was just feeding out of the corner and I just made eye contact with him and kinda like, here it comes. I ran up, he just socked me right in the jaw. And I was like, ‘That was awesome. That was worth everything I was waiting for.”
For more information about Gabbi’s “Body Spartan” fitness app please visit www.BodySpartan.com.
Tuft’s full interview aired as part of a recent episode of our podcast, The Wrestling Inc. Daily. Subscribe to get the latest episodes as soon as it’s released Monday – Friday afternoon by clicking here. You can find the full audio from today’s show, as well as the video from Nick’s interview with Tuft, below.